13th October 2010

BAA should accept Court of Appeal verdict and sell Stansted

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has called on BAA to accept today’s ruling by Lord Justice Maurice Kay in the Court of Appeal and sell Stansted Airport without further delay.

Welcoming today’s decision by the Court of Appeal, SSE Economics Adviser Brian Ross commented: “We urge BAA to accept the Court of Appeal’s decision and relinquish control of Stansted without any more delaying tactics, such as an appeal to the Supreme Court. It may be in BAA’s commercial interests to try to delay the inevitable for as long as possible but creating further uncertainty would not be in the interests of either the local community or the airport’s employees.”

This is the latest step in a long running saga which began in 2006 when the Office of Fair Trading launched a market study into BAA’s dominant position in the UK airports market. There followed a two year study by the Competition Commission (CC) which concluded (in March 2009) that BAA should sell Gatwick and Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow. BAA has since sold Gatwick but for the past 18 months it has been embroiled in protracted legal proceedings where it has been challenging the CC ruling in respect of Stansted and Edinburgh/Glasgow.

Mr Ross concluded: “A change of ownership at Stansted Airport would at least create the prospect of establishing a meaningful and constructive dialogue between the airport management and the local community – something which BAA were never prepared to engage in. There is, of course, always the risk that the new owner could be worse that the devil we already know but in this particular case we believe that risk is extremely small.”

The Court of Appeal refused BAA’s application to appeal to the Supreme Court although BAA can seek to have this refusal overturned.

NOTES

The Court of Appeal judgment was handed down today (13 October 2010) by Lord Justice Maurice Kay, supported by Lord Justice Jacob and Lord Justice Patten. It is expected to be available online later today on the Court of Appeal website. BAA may seek to take the case to the final legal stage, namely, the Supreme Court. If so, it could be another year before we had the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport